One of the great privileges and responsibilities every bishop has is to administer the sacrament of confirmation to our Catholic young women and men. In fact, this is one of the most often celebrated liturgies by any bishop. If you have been reading the
Dakota Catholic Action
, no doubt you have noticed that during each month, a significant portion of my public schedule is traveling to parishes to celebrate this wonderful sacrament of initiation.
I would like to take this opportunity to share with you my impressions of the many young women and men who present themselves for confirmation across our diocese. First, I can tell immediately that they are truly interested in being confirmed because they have been well prepared. They do understand that they are taking on a greater responsibility for living our Catholic faith. Second, based on the patron saints they choose for themselves, it is clear to me that they have given their choices a good deal of prayer and thought. That is wonderful since our patron saints not only give us real-life examples of how to be holy and prove to us that we can be holy as well, they now pray for us to the Lord.
I am very encouraged not only by their active participation in the life of their parishes
but, by the questions so many have asked me, it is evident that
they want to know more about our Catholic faith and our Church
. All of this bodes well for them, for their parishes and for our diocese—for the present and for the future. Let us offer a prayer every day for all of our young people, that they will continue to love the Lord and put that love into practice.
However, what our young women and men need from us who are already confirmed Catholics is the example of faith lived well. In other words,
we owe them that good example of our own lives
. No matter when we adults received the sacrament of confirmation, as I tell our young people, we all have received the same seven gifts from the same Holy Spirit Who descended upon the Apostles and first disciples on the first Pentecost. We receive them for the very same purpose, to bring the joy of our friendship with Jesus to others so that they, too, can come to know, love and serve Him with us in the Church.
Recall those seven gifts: wisdom, understanding, knowledge, fortitude, counsel, piety, and fear of the Lord. If we make the effort to use these gifts, then they always bear good fruit in our thoughts, words and actions. We give good example to our newly confirmed young people and they see the fruits of the Holy Spirit in and through us. They should see in us charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, fidelity, modesty, self-control and chastity.
As summer will soon be upon us it would be good if we did a spiritual inventory of how well we are using the Holy Spirit’s gifts. The way we can tell is by comparing our thoughts, words and actions with His twelve fruits. The best way to keep these gifts strong in our lives is frequent (if not daily) Mass and Holy Communion and very regular confession. Let us thank the Lord for His blessings of our faith, the Church and His sacraments.
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